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SUCCESS STORIES

CANADA

QUÉBEC
Preventing Forest Fires
PROBLÈME: Entre 1970 et 1993, le Québec détectait plus de 800 incendies de cause humaine par année. Une situation qui devait être changée pour le bien de la collectivité.

RÉSULTAT: La SOPFEU a mis en place avec ses collaborateurs plusieurs actions préventives pour diminuer les incendies allumés par l’activité humaine. En 2012, le nombre d’incendies a grandement diminué (40%) pour une moyenne de 472 incendies par année.

Pour plus d'informations sur cette histoire, s'il vous plaît cliquez ici.


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PROBLEM: Between 1970 and 1993, more than 800 human caused forest fires were detected annually. This situation needed to be addressed for the good of the community.

RESULTS: With the cooperation of its collaborators, the SOPFEU introduced numerous prevention initiatives in order to reduce the number of human caused fires. By 2012, the number of forest fires was greatly reduced (40%), thus bringing the annual average to 472 fires.

For more information on this story, please click here.

NOVA SCOTIA

PROBLEM: In the Cape Breton Municipality (Sydney area),  grass fires and arson have been an alarming issue with the municipality. 


RESULT: In March 2013, Cape Breton Municipality firefighters, RCMP and Natural Resources staff came together with the assistance of Burn survivor Michael Gaultois from Newfoundland and talked with high school youth about the dangers of and prevention of wildfires.


Although Michael didn’t receive his injuries from a wildfire incident he was a huge inspiration to the youth to not play with fire and many sent emails, joined his Facebook page and mentioned how the event changed their lives. Below are two of the emails received:


“Hi Michael, you did a presentation at my school yesterday (Malcolm Munroe) side, back and the one I just want to let you know that you are honestly my inspiration, I have been going through a lot of tough stuff lately and honestly so many times I felt like giving up but your presentation inspired me to keep pushing through the pain not matter how hard it is!  I regret not giving you a hug yesterday but if I went up to see you I would probably start crying again. 

I really hope I get to see you again soon.”


“On March 19th you presented at my school Malcolm Monroe. I have never felt so touched in all my life. You made a difference in a lot of kid’s lives today, you were fantastic. You brought tears to us all today and touched our hearts beyond your wildest imagination. My heart shatters thinking about what you had to go through, you were so young. Today you have inspired me to look at life in a totally different way, you have made such an impact on my life just out of that hour and a half. I appreciate you so much, and I think you are such an amazing, beautiful and strong human being. Words cannot even describe what I think about you. The word "strong" doesn't seem like enough to describe it, because you are much more than that, you are an inspiration to many people, I hope you continue these presentations because you are phenomenal. Take care. And thank you, I cannot thank you enough.”


A week later staff in Cumberland county came together to give a similar message to the students at River Hebert High School, tackling another area of concern with RCMP, conservation staff, volunteer firefighters in the local community came to support the cause and talk, and the provincial fire prevention officer. 


Although youth are only a fraction of the cause of some arson or unintentional fires they have been the focus in 2013. 


UNITED STATES

MAINE
Defensible Space Chipping Program
PROBLEM: Although Maine has had a "Wildland Urban Interface Program" (WUI) since 2004, for the first few years, it was difficult getting communities to mitigate the hazardous forest fuels that had built up near the homes. People seem to understand the problem of having brush near their homes, but only had a few options for getting rid of it. They would either burn it (which often created additional hazards) or have to haul it to the transfer station (which is not always feasible due to limitations on transportation).

RESULTS: Once we got the grant from the USDA Forest Service for the wood chipper, we were able to work in conjunction with the community and the local fire department to set up "brush chipping days" to help properly dispose of the brush. All the homeowner had to do was remove or limb their trees, leave the brush pile at the end of their driveway, fill out a form and it would be removed. This collective effort between the community, fire department and the Maine Forest Service also provided a great means to educate and inform the public about the importance of creating and maintaining "defensible space" and eliminating "ladder fuels."

For more information on this story, please click here.

Lakesmart / Firewise Program
PROBLEM: This program was developed as a result of two problems that developed over time with our "Wildland Urban Interface Program" (WUI). The first had to do with the large geographical size and the organizational structure of many of Maine's small towns. We found that it took several days to adequately sample homes for wildfire risk assessments and that the towns were not set up to provide the necessary people for assisting us with the wildfire risk assessments and the "Defensible Space Chipping Program." The second problem had to do with a conflict between the Maine Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) shoreland zoning regulations (which restrict the amount of vegetation that can be cut near the water's edge) and our recommendations for a minimum of 30' of defensible space between any structure and a forested area.

RESULTS: Both problems were solved when we stopped soliciting towns for our WUI program and sent a newly developed "Lakesmart / Firewise" brochure to all of Maine's lake associations (note: the brochure can be viewed here). The brochure was developed by working with DEP's exisiting "Lakesmart" program and clearly stating that DEP's shoreland zoning rules overrule our recommendations for clearing vegetation near the water's edge. We also learned that these lake associations are made up of energetic, concerned volunteers (most whom are retired) that have the time available to become involved with our WUI program. After this informal partnership was formed, the average time to complete the wildfire risk assessments was reduced to a single day and the interest in our WUI program has led to three additional Firewise Community USA's in Maine.

For more information on this story, please click here.


MASSACHUSETTS
Hazard Fuels Management 2009-2012

PROBLEM: Pitch pine, lower story scrub oak and other resin filled vegetation makes up the forest type in South-eastern Massachusetts. This dense and highly flammable fuel is of much concern to wildland firefighters. These volatile fuels grow close to and by homes causing wildland urban interface challenges. Real estate values, Cape Cod’s high tourist appeal, lives, homes and property are all at risk.

 

RESULTS: The state DCR Bureau of Forest Fire Control has partnered with local, private and federal agencies to lessen the risk through management and maintenance in high risk areas.

For more information on this project, please click here.

VERMONT
Diorama and Video Spread the Word

PROBLEM: Vermont is a small, rural state; many homes are located in forested areas and many communities feature expansive wildland-urban interface areas. Many citizens are not well aware of the dangers of WUI or of FireWise concepts. The Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation does not have a large Fire Prevention Program and informing citizens was a challenge.



RESULTS:
The Department partnered with the Northern Vermont Resource Conservation District and the Rural Fire Protection Task Force to produce a diorama and video that illustrate many wildfire safety concepts for citizens in rural areas. The diorama and an explanatory brochure are available on loan to local fire departments.

The video can be seen here: http://www.nvtrcd.org/fwff.html.


NEW ENGLAND NATIONAL FORESTS - USDA FOREST SERVICE

GREEN MOUNTAIN AND FINGER LAKES NATIONAL FORESTS (GMFLNF)


PROBLEM/SITUATION: The GMFLNF partners with NFFPC Compact agencies, sister agencies, states, locals and private groups to manage, maintain and put wildfire prevention and silvaculture practices to work.


RESULTS: The following are several pictures depicting how the GMFLNF participates in fuel and hazard reduction, prescribed burning and wildlife preservation.




Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests hazardous fuel reduction project in Peru, VT in 2011.


Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forest and The Nature Conservancy partnership agreement allows for integration and cohesion when working on Prescribed Burning Projects. Here Dr. Brian Keel (USFS) and Gabe Chapin (TNC) work together monitoring fire effects for Oak Regeneration. 




Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests' prescribed burn at Westover Air Base in Chicopee, Massachusetts 2012.



The Green Mountain and finger Lakes National Forest and the Ruffed Grouse Society working together on masticating wildlife openings/ fuel reduction projects. The Ruffed Grouse Society owns and provides the CAT skid steer as seen here.